Prof. Dr. Julia Hillner

BCDSS Professor and Co-speaker
Principal Investigator in project: Connecting Late Antiquities

Heussallee 18–24
Room U1.200
53113 Bonn
Phone: +49 228 73 62953

Office hours: Mondays, 11 am – 1 pm


Team: Dr. James M. Harland (postdoctoral researcher), Dr. Jeroen Wijnendaele (postdoctoral researcher, project Connecting Late Antiquities), Dr. Jessica van 't Westeinde (postdoctoral researcher, project Connecting Late Antiquities), Giulia Cappucci (PhD researcher), Azime Can and Josephine Probst (student assistants)

© Barbara Frommann

Team Julia Hillner

Team Julia Hillner
© Barbara Frommann

"Researching and teaching at BCDSS will allow me to situate my field - social and gender relations at the end of antiquity - within the widest possible variety of pertinent questions and approaches to the theme of dependency in the pre-modern world, ranging from law to theology and material culture. This is a huge privilege and I can't wait to get started."

Academic Profile

Julia Hillner works predominantly on the transformations of the family and the household in the period 300–750 and how these transformations are reflected in legal norms and practices. She has published widely on related topics: from the urban context of the family and property holding, particularly in the city of Rome, to issues of authority, dependency, hierarchy and discipline within the household and how these have influenced concepts and practices of state punishment. Most recently, she has researched structures of dependency within the late Roman imperial household, especially during the reign of the first Christian emperor Constantine.

Julia Hillner currently works on two research projects. 

The first, Women’s Chains: Jewels, Slavery and the ‘Rhetoric of Unadornment’ in Late Antiquity, focusses on discourses and practices around female bodily adornment in late antiquity, especially with regard to the wearing of jewellery. She investigates the tensions between Christian demands for a radical departure from female beautification that expanded on classical themes around jewellery as an expression of sexual depravity, weakness, deceitfulness, greed or foreigness, and the emergence of a widely accepted display of jewellery at all levels of society and across the gender spectrum. Julia has laid the groundwork for this project during a Heinz-Heinen Fellowship at BCDSS in the spring of 2021. You can listen to her talking about an aspect of her research at the Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies here22.

Julia’s second on-going project, Women, Criminality and Justice in Late Antiquity (c. 200 to c. 600) investigates the role of women and gender in late antique definitions of ‘crime’ and in actual criminal procedure. It seeks to understand how the social, cultural and political changes in this period affected the ways in which female criminals were treated and the ways through which women sought and dispensed justice. It also considers gendered discourses around the definitions of crime and punishment as well as their influence by and their impact on changing concepts of political and religious leadership in this period.

Julia is currently PI, together with Prof Richard Flower (Exeter), on the project Connecting Late Antiquities, funded by a UK-German collaborative grant from the AHRC and DFG from 2023-2025. The project will digitise the monumental Prosopography of the Later Roman Empire and build a digital platform for disparate late antique prosopographical data. Julia is also currently Co-I, with Dr Caroline Goodson (PI; Cambridge) on the project Reassessing Rome after Empire: An Urban History Approach55, which will result in the Brill Companion to Early Medieval Rome. In the past, Julia has been PI on two major international research projects, The Migration of Faith: Clerical Exile in Late Antiquity and Women, Conflict and Peace: Gendered Networks in Early Medieval Narratives. Both projects have applied and expanded on Digital Humanities methods, in particular network analysis.

3 monographs, 2 edited volumes, 1 guest-edited special journal issue, 15 journal articles, 13 chapters in edited collections, 8 dictionary entries, 1 online database, 16 book reviews.

Ph.D. in Ancient History, University of Bonn, Germany

1. Staatsexamen in History, Italian, Education, University of Bonn, Germany

since 2021
Professor of Dependency and Slavery Studies (Imperial Rome, Late Antiquity), University of Bonn

Chair in Medieval History, University of Sheffield, UK

Reader in Medieval History, University of Sheffield, UK

Senior Lecturer in Medieval History, University of Sheffield, UK

Lecturer in Medieval History, University of Sheffield, UK

British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow, Classics and Ancient History, University of Manchester, UK

Teaching Fellow in Early Christianity, Religions and Theology, University of Manchester, UK

Research Associate, Centre for Late Antiquity, University of Manchester, UK

AHRC and DFG Grant for Connecting Late Antiquities (CLA)

British Academy Conference Grant 2021, Reassessing Rome after Empire: An Urban History Approach (Co-Investigator)

Leverhulme Trust Project Grant Women, Conflict and Peace: Gendered Networks in Early Medieval Narratives (Principal Investigator)

Arts and Humanities Research Council Project Grant, The Migration of Faith: Clerical Exile in Late Antiquity (Principal Investigator)

Visiting Professorship, Sapienza Università di Roma (September 2024).

Barbara Heldt Prize for the Best Book in Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Women’s and Gender Studies, from the Association for Women in Slavic Studies, for Helena Augusta: Mother of the Empire.

Heinz-Heinen Senior Fellowship, Centre for Dependency and Slavery Studies, University of Bonn (January-August).

Alumni Fellowship, Humboldt Foundation, held at the University of Bonn (September-December).

PROSE Award Honorable Mention for Prison, Punishment and Penance in Late Antiquity.

Research Fellowship, Humboldt Foundation, held at the University of Frankfurt.

Senate Award for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, University of Sheffield.

British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship.

Graduiertenförderung des Landes Nordrhein-Westfalen (doctoral scholarship).

Member of the Comitato Scientifico, Accademia Romanistica Costantiniana, Università di Perugia

Elected Council Member and Trustee of the Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies13

Elected Member, Faculty of Archaeology, History and Letters, British School at Rome14


    • 2023. Helena Augusta: Mother of the Empire. New York: Oxford University Press.

    Winner of the 2023 Barbara Heldt Prize for the Best Book in Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Women’s and Gender Studies, from the Association for Women in Slavic Studies.

    The prize committee said: "The committee is excited to recognize the significant contributions this text makes to women’s and gender studies both methodologically and empirically. With its focus on the ancient world, it opens up a historical period that is woefully underexamined in Slavic Studies. This magnificent volume will have great impacts on scholarly agendas in numerous fields."

    • 2015. Prison, Punishment and Penance in Late Antiquity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 

    Winner of a 2016 Prose Awards Honorable Mention, Archaeology and Ancient History.

    • 2004. Jedes Haus ist eine Stadt: Privatimmobilien im spätantiken Rom. Bonn: R. Habelt.


    Edited Volumes, Special Journal Issues

    • 2019. Waves Across the Pond: Exiling Clerics in Late Antiquity. Special Issue of Studies in Late Antiquity: A Journal, vol. 3.3.
    • 2016. With J. Engberg and J. Ulrich. Clerical Exile in Late Antiquity. Early Christianity in the Context of Antiquity 17. Frankfurt: Peter Lang.
    • 2007. With K. Cooper. Religion, Dynasty, and Patronage in Early Christian Rome, 300–900. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


    Journal Articles

    • 2022. With M. MacCarron, U. Vihervalli. "The Politics of Female Namelessness between Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages." Journal of Late Antiquity 15, 367–401.
    • 2020. With S. Prado, A. Bazzan, S. Dahmen, M. MacCarron. "Gendered Networks and Communicability in Medieval Historical Narratives." Advances in Complex Systems 23, 1–22.
    • 2019. "Imperial Women and Clerical Exile in Late Antiquity." Studies in Late Antiquity: A Journal, vol. 3.3, 369–412.
    • 2019. "Empresses, Queens and Letters: Finding a ‘Female Voice’ in Late Antiquity?" Gender & History 31, 353–382. Open Access
    • 2019. With the Editorial Board of Journal of Roman Studies. "Gender Bias and the Journal of Roman Studies." Journal of Roman Studies 109, 441–448. Open Access
    • 2017. "A Woman's Place: Imperial Women in Late Antique Rome." Antiquité tardive 25, 75–94.
    • 2013. "Confined Exiles: An Aspect of the Late Antique Prison System." Millennium. Jahrbuch zur Kultur und Geschichte des ersten Jahrtausend n. Chr. 10, 385–433.
    • 2011. "Gregory the Great's Prisons: Monastic Confinement in Early Byzantine Italy." Journal of Early Christian Studies 19, 433–471.
    • 2009. "Monks and Children: Corporal Punishment in Late Antiquity." European History Review/Revue européenne d'histoire 16, 773–791.
    • 2007. "Monastic Imprisonment in Justinian’s Novels." Journal of Early Christian Studies 15, 205–237.
    • 2006. "Clerics, Property, and Patronage: The Case of the Roman Titular Churches." Antiquité tardive 14, 59–68.
    • 2004. With C. Leyser. "The Fruits of Research: Supporting the Arts and Humanities." JISC Inform 5, 21–22.
    • 2003. "Domus, Family, and Inheritance: The Senatorial Family House in Late Antique Rome." Journal of Roman Studies 93, 129–145.
    • 2001. "Die Berufsangaben und Adressen auf den stadtrömischen Sklavenhalsbändern." Historia. Zeitschrift für Alte Geschichte 50, 193–216.
    • 1993–4. With O. Prothmann and P. Liebner. "Hinweise für Benutzer von Kirchenbüchern im Stadtarchiv Bonn." Bonner Geschichtsblätter 43–44, 121–132.



    • 2021. "Prólogo." In Mujeres imperiales, Mujeres reales: Representaciones públicas y representaciones del poder en la Antigüedad tardía y Bizancio, edited by M. Chiriatti, xiii–xvi. Leiden: Brill. 
    • 2021. With M. MacCarron. "Female Networks and Exiled Bishops between Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages: The cases of Liberius of Rome and Wilfrid of York." In Relations of Power: Women’s Networks in the Middle Ages, edited by R. Hardie, I. Dumitrescu, E. Berat, 19–44. Bonn: Bonn University Press.
    • 2020. "Female Crime and Female Confinement in Late Antiquity." In The Violence of Small Worlds: Conflict and Social Control in Late Antiquity, edited by K. Cooper, J. Wood, 15–38. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    • 2019. "Preserving Female Voices: Female Letters in Late Antique Letter Collections." In A Late Antique Experiment in Roman Canon Law. The Collectio Avellana and its Revivals, edited by R. Lizzi, G. Marconi,  210–244. Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.
    • 2019: "Exclusion, intégration ou exclusion par l’intégration? Géographies du banissement et asile à la fin de l’empire romain (ve-vie siècle)." In La construction du sujet exclu (IVe–XIe siècle): droit, lieux et discours, edited by S. Gioanni, S. Joye, 45–68. Turnhout: Brepols.
    • 2016. "Approaches to Clerical Exile: Strategies, Experiences, Memories and Social Networks." In Clerical Exile in Late Antiquity, edited by J. Hillner, J. Ulrich, J. Engberg, 11–43. Frankfurt: Peter Lang.
    • 2013. "Family Violence: Punishment and Abuse in the Late Roman Household." In Approaches to the Byzantine Family, edited by S. Tougher and L. Brubaker, 21–45.  Aldershot: Ashgate. 
    • 2011. "Enfermement monastique au VIe siècle." In Enfermements: Le cloître et la prison du Ve au XVIIIe siècle, edited by J. Claustre, I. Heullant-Donant, 39–56. Paris: Publications de la Sorbonne.
    • 2007. "Families, Patronage, and the Titular Churches of Rome." In Religion, Dynasty, and Patronage in Early Christian Rome, 300–900, edited by K. Cooper, J. Hillner, 225–261. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    • 2007. With K. Cooper. "Introduction." In Religion, Dynasty, and Patronage in Early Christian Rome, 300–900, edited by K. Cooper, J. Hillner, 1–18. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    • 2006. With K. Cooper, C. Leyser. "Dark Age Rome: An Interactive Topography. A GIS Project of the Centre for Late Antiquity, University of Manchester." In The Social and Political Archaeology of Late Antiquity, edited by L. Lavan, W. Bowden, 311–337. Leiden: Brill.
    • 2004. With C. Leyser. "Religion, Dynasty, and Patronage in Early Medieval Rome, 440–840: An Electronic Approach." In La scrittura dai monasteri. Atti del II seminario internazionale di studio "I Monasteri nell'alto Medioevo," edited by F. De Rubeis, W. Pohl, 227–247. Rome: Institutum Romanum Finlandiae. 
    • 2002. "Le chiese paleocristiane di Roma e l'occupazione degli spazi pubblici." In "Ecclesiae urbis". Atti del congresso internazionale di studi sulle chiese di Roma (IV–X sec.), edited by F. Guidobaldi, A. Guiglia Guidobaldi, 242–249. Vatican City: PIAC.


    Databases/Data collections


    Dictionary Entries

    • "Titulus." Brill Encyclopedia of Early Christianity Online. Open Access
    • "Execution," "Punishment," "Prisons," "Homicide," "Violence, crimes of," "Torture." In Oxford Dictionary of Late Antiquity, edited by O. Nicholson, M. Humphries. New York: Oxford University Press, 2018.
    • "Constantina, daughter of Constantine, wife of Gallus Caesar and patron of St Agnes." Oxford Classical Dictionary. New York: Oxford University Press, 2018. Open Access
    • "Constantia, half-sister of Constantine and wife of Licinius." Oxford Classical Dictionary. New York: Oxford University Press, 2017. Open Access



    • Forthcoming. "Sible de Blaauw, E. M. Moormann, D. Slootjes (eds.), The Recruiting Power of Christianity. The Rise of Religion in the Material Culture of Fourth-Century Rome and its Echo in History. Rome: Quasar, 2021." Historische Zeitschrift.
    • 2021. "Jennifer Barry, Bishops in Flight. Exile and Displacement in Late Antiquity, Oakland: University of California Press, 2019." Early Medieval Europe 29.4, 614–617.
    • 2020. "Emma Southon, Marriage, Sex and Death. The Family and the Fall of the Roman West. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press 2017." Plekos 22, 55–57. Open Access
    • 2019. "Valerio Neri/Beatrice Girotti (eds.). La famiglia tardoantica. Società, diritto, religione. Milano: Edizioni Universitarie di Lettere Economia Diritto 2016." Plekos 21, 313–316. Open Access
    • 2016. "Joyce E. Salisbury, Rome’s Christian Empress: Galla Placidia Rules at the Twilight of the Empire, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2015." Ancient History Bulletin Online Review 6, 121–124. Open Access
    • G. Demacopoulos, The Invention of Peter. Apostolic Discourse and Papal Authority in Late Antiquity, Philadelphia, 2013 (Divinations: rereading late ancient religion), in: Journal of Roman Studies 106 (2016), 373–374.
    • 2015. "M. Mulryan, Spatial Christianisation in Context: Strategic Intramural Building in Rome from the 4th-7th c., Oxford: Archeopress, 2014." Bonner Jahrbücher 215, 580–581.
    • 2014. "P. Blaudeau, Le siège de Rome et l’Orient (448-536), Rome, 2012 (Collection de l'École Française de Rome, 460)." Journal of Roman Studies 104, 354–355.
    • 2012. "F. Stini, Plenum exiliis mare. Untersuchungen zum Exil in der römischen Kaiserzeit, Stuttgart 2011 (Geographica Historica, 27)." Historische Zeitschrift 295, 755–756.
    • 2012. "G. Ausenda (ed.), The Langobards before the Frankish Conquest: An Ethnographic Perspective, New York 2009." Early Medieval Europe 20, 90–92.
    • 2010. "S. Barnish et al. (ed.), Vivarium in Context, Vicenza 2008." Early Medieval Europe 18, 223–224.
    • 2009. "P. Hatlie, The Monks and Monasteries of Constantinople ca. 350-850, Cambridge 2007." Journal of Hellenic Studies 129, 252–253.
    • 2008. "O. F. Robinson, Penal Practice and Penal Policy in Ancient Rome, London, New York 2007." Classical Review 58, 542–544.
    • 2007. "D. Slootjes, The Governor and his Subjects in the Later Roman Empire. Leiden, Boston 2006." Journal of Roman Studies 97, 379–380.
    • 2005. "E. Magnou-Nortier, Le Code Théodosien, livre XVI, et sa réception au moyen âge, Paris 2002." Speculum. A Journal of Medieval Studies 80, 271–273.
    • 2005. "A. Haug, Die Stadt als Lebensraum. Eine kulturhistorische Analyse zum spätantiken Stadtleben in Norditalien, Rahden/Westfalen 2003." Journal of Roman Studies 95, 323–324.



    • 2008. From German: G. M. Berndt, R. Steinacher, "Minting in Vandal-Alanic North Africa: Coins of the Vandal Period in the Numismatic Collection of Vienna's Kunsthistorische Museum." Early Medieval Europe 16.
    • 2007. From Italian: A. Cantini, "Siena in the Early Middle Ages. New Data from the Excavation at the Hospital of S. Maria della Scala." Early Medieval Europe 15.


    Under Review/In Press

    Edited Volumes

    • 2024. With Caroline Goodson. A Companion to Rome, 400–1050. Leiden: Brill.



    • 2024. "Law and Justice." In A Companion to Rome, 400–1050, edited by J. Hillner, C. Goodson. Leiden: Brill.
    • 2024. "Concluding Remarks: Imperial Women After Curtains." In Empresses-in-waiting. Female Power and Performance at the Late Roman Court, edited by C. Rollinger, N. Viermann. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press.
    • 2024. "A Ladies’ Man: Julian and the Women of the Constantinian Dynasty." In TBC, edited by C.-R. Hailstone, J. Harland. Leuven: Brepols.
    • 2024. With M. MacCarron. "Social Network Analysis." In A Companion to Roman Prosopography, edited by R. Flower, M. Horster, R. Mathisen. Leiden: Brill.
    • 2024. With H. Mawdsley. "Women and Exile in Late Antiquity." In Norms of Dependency in Late Antique and Early Medieval Societies, edited by M. Becher, M. Schermaier, K. Vössing, J. Winnebeck. Berlin: De Gruyter.
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